Written by Puño Estupendo
There's always something a little disturbing about seeing a cartoon aimed at thirty-something-year-old comic-book guys. Now I'm not talking about animated movies aimed at an older audience, I mean something that has the look, design and feel of a Saturday morning superhero action fest but is aimed right at the middle-aged fanboy. Even though I am said fanboy in a lot of ways, it just kind of throws me off a little bit. For this reason, I was surprised when the over-the-top action of Hulk Vs started up.
Split up between two short features, Hulk Vs breaks into "Hulk Vs Wolverine" and "Hulk Vs Thor." In the first, you have a small Canadian town that's been destroyed. Carnage everywhere, military taking control of the investigation, and everyone's favorite X-Man being asked to go after The Hulk (who is being blamed for the destruction). In fast form, Wolverine tracks the "toxic scent" of The Hulk and is stupefied when all he finds is a scrawny little crybaby of a man wearing tattered purple pants. Doesn't take too much to figure out what happens next, bring on the fight! And fight they do, crazy style!
I was honestly surprised at how brutal it was: blood, stabbing, severe pummeling…that's when you realize it's aimed at the fanboys. The problem was that it kind of made me laugh at how blatant it was about it. Once the fighting started (of which there is a lot of), it came off like it was trying to live up to robots fighting alien werewolves while Jessica Alba ran around in a skimpy outfit; completely blatant in who it was targeting.
Aside from that, it was a fairly fun ride. There's actually a bit of story thrown in between the fighting, and the appearance of several more villains make for a slug-fest of proportions you would expect from something that has The Hulk and Wolverine in it. Wolverine actually turns out to be more of a focus in this than Hulk does. There's flashback sequences to his origin and the villains are all from his past: Deadpool, Omega Red, Lady Deathstryke. The Hulk just serves as a vehicle for a Wolverine story. Not that that's such a terrible thing at all, but it came off as kind of a bait and switch to me.
Sort of the same can be said for the second feature of the set, "Hulk Vs Thor." This time around the Hulk is brought to the mythical realm of Asgard where he is possessed by Thor's evil brother Loki and is used as a weapon against all that is good. The beatings commence, and it's a whole lot more fighting.
These are not necessarily for the young ones. The violence is the prominent factor and it's not exactly adults only, but there's blood, severed limbs, head-bashing and even a pointblank gunshot to the face courtesy of Deadpool in the Wolverine segment. It's machismo with superheroes and it's fun stuff if you're into that. I did like the character designs quite a bit, more so with the Wolverine movie than the Thor one, but both are nicely done. As a comic-book fan, it was a treat to see some of these characters handled like this and I would definitely be interested in more.
A surprising amount of extras are included for both movies including making-of's and plenty of behind the scenes interviews with the directors, writers, and designers. Each film runs 40 minutes so they really did include more bonus features than a lot of films twice their size. Hulk Vs is the kind of fun where you just check your brain at the door a bit, kick back, and watch the mayhem unfold. Fans of these characters won't be disappointed but probably won't exactly be blown away either, but should definitely give them a watch if you've been sitting on the fence about it.